In a bid to ensure complete transparency in functioning of political parties, the Election Commission wants them to disclose the source of every penny they receive, to the poll watchdog.
As of now, parties are required to disclose contribution of more than Rs 20,000 if they want to claim Income Tax rebate. Otherwise, there is no obligation for them to disclose the source of contributions to the EC, except the total accounts statement.
The only party to disclose every contribution, on its website, has been the Aam Aadmi Party which has led to rival parties accusing its convener Arvind Kejriwal of indulging in corrupt practices to generate resources.None of the other parties disclose the source of funding either on their website or to the EC. So much so that the Bahujan Samaj Party declared that contributions it received were less than Rs 20,000 and therefore disclosing the source was not a must.
A review of the contributions by the Association for Democratic Reforms showed about 80% of the funds major political parties — Congress, BJP, NCP and Samajwadi Party received — were from undisclosed sources.
“We want the government to amend rules to make political parties transparent. It can check the growing influence of black money in elections,” former chief election commissioner VS Sampath had told HT in an interview.
EC sources said they had written to the government to amend the Representation of People’s Act and implement complete transparency in the funding of political parties. The issue is being deliberated on by the Law Commission and the EC expects it to submit a favourable report soon. In 1999, the Law Commission had recommended amendment in the Act to ensure complete transparency but the government had not taken a decision on it.